VoIP As a Small Business Solution

Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP is the single most popular business communications system today, and with good reason. Not only do businesses that have VoIP implemented as their primary communications solution create an easy way for all employees to get in touch with both their colleagues and their customers, but VoIP’s various other benefits also make it easy to justify implementing the solution in the first place.

Basic VoIP Features

VoIP telephony systems for small business combine basic services to offer the most effective, cost cutting option available. Features any small business might need include fax, inbound contact center, voice mail, conference calling, forwarding calls from one location to another, making calls from a PC, instant messaging, detailed reporting, as well as recording and playback of phone conversations among many others.Because most small businesses are fortunate to have even a single receptionist, the ability to receive a call on one phone and then forward that call to another phone, business or otherwise, is the most important thing for a communication system. Equally important, is the ability to forward all incoming calls to multiple locations at the same time, giving the employees a chance to answer all incoming calls. This not only decreases the number of missed calls, but it also lets your customers know that their call is important to you because you didn’t let it go to voicemail or have an automated receptionist pick it up.

Unfortunately, most VoIP offers include only some of these services in a single package, such as conference calling, faxing or instant messaging, and then require the business owner to purchase the extra features as add-ons. However, most business owners understand that to get the best value from anything – especially VoIP services – every single feature and service that you need should be contained in a single package for maximum cost benefit and savings.

How VoIP Affects the Bottom Line

Whether there is one branch or 1,000 locations, there are four aspects of business that are important to any owner. These include offering proper and prompt customer and technical service, maintaining high work efficiency, increased work effectiveness, and the financial bottom line. In fact, for most companies, the bottom line is the only reason business owners do anything – including installing and maintaining VoIP communications. This means being able to account for and justify the cost of VoIP and its maintenance, in addition to accounting for and justifying the benefits versus the drawbacks of using IP telephony.Simply stated, adopting a VoIP based communication solution and routing all business communications through that system can save your business a lot of money – not to mention time and frustration. Since VoIP comes with little overhead, its installation and maintenance is easily justified, and the bottom line remains largely unaffected, meaning you never miss a business call ever again.

Bookkeeping Software Got You Down? A Small Business Solution

These days’ small business owners have a choice of many quality accounting software programs with numerous undeniable benefits. Accounting software allows a business owner to become more efficient. They are set up so you don’t have to know double entry bookkeeping; and they can produce valuable reports to track your profit and expenses.

While accounting software has many benefits, they still don’t fulfill the needs of the majority of small business owners. I have worked with many small business owners who have spent the entire year tracking their books with their accounting software only to find at the end of the year that is was all wrong. Or worse yet, they had been paying a part-time bookkeeper to do it for them only to learn that the term “bookkeeper” is loosely defined. Tears have been shed, and rightly so.

What’s the Problem?

The software itself is not particularly the problem. There are two real challenges with accounting software programs. The first challenge is the training required to learn the software, and secondly is the time needed to actually use the software.It takes a considerable amount of time to become proficient with the software, and there are many little decisions along the way that can steer you down the wrong road without a clear understanding of basic accounting principles. Not only do you have to be trained on the software, but than you must learn the basics of small business bookkeeping. Ah! A class at the nearest adult education center! After two days and hundreds of dollars later, are most people more able to jump in and handle their business’s books on the software? Actually no, most are not. The classes do show all the wonderful things the software can do, whether it applies to your business or not. But in the end, most folks end up overwhelmed by all the options and walk away not knowing where to start.

The second challenge is the amount of time accounting and bookkeeping takes. No matter how good the software, most small business owners wear many hats and are super time pressured. Bookkeeping is a silent need, and doesn’t scream loudly when ignored. Result? Bookkeeping gets put off; worry builds; and the end of the year is a game of financial Russian roulette.

What is the solution?

Rather than you becoming a part-time accountant or getting lost in the accounting maze, find an accountant who specializes in small business. Many of these accountants can do your bookkeeping or know someone they trust. They are trained, full-time professionals and can help you keep pulse of your businesses’ financial health while you spend time building revenue rather than wrestling with accounting software.

Even better some accountants are now offering access to online bookkeeping software through a secure portal such as you use if you do online banking. This is the best of both worlds. Now you can choose your accountant on quality of service rather than locality. With online accounting you have access to the software and a skilled accountant right at your fingertips. Your records are hosted on a highly secure web-server and both you and your accountant have instant access. Result? No more financial Russian roulette. You and your accountant have a clear, concise and current picture of your business’ finances. It is a well known fact that how well your books are kept can determine how successful your business will be. Take control of the bookkeeping nemesis and take control of your business’ future by hiring an accountant that is consistently accessible, fully knowledgeable, and up to date on your business’ finances.In conclusion, while accounting software is very powerful, it can be likened to a jet. It can get you places very fast and efficiently but without a trained pilot with a navigational system, the jet can be ineffective and even worse can be dangerous and you can end up somewhere you didn’t plan to go.